Why Ruby Tuesday Shares Got Crushed

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of restaurant operator Ruby Tuesday (NYSE: RT  ) plummeted 18% this morning after its quarterly results and outlook disappointed Wall Street.

So what: The shares have plunged over the past year on slumping sales, and today's first-quarter results -- a loss of $0.36 per share on revenue of $289.7 million -- coupled with downbeat guidance for the second quarter suggest that things aren't picking up anytime soon. While management said that initiatives to re-establish the Ruby Tuesday brand are gaining traction, the same-store sales decline of 11% suggests the competitive environment might be too intense to overcome. 

Now what: Ruby Tuesday now expects second-quarter same-store sales to drop in the high single digits, with sequential improvement as the year progresses. "I remain confident in our brand transformation strategy and in our team's ability to successfully execute our plans," said CEO J.J. Buettgen. "Looking ahead to the remainder of fiscal 2014, our top priorities are driving increased guest counts and profitable sales growth." Given Ruby Tuesday's clearly weakening competitive position, however, I wouldn't be so quick to buy that turnaround talk. 

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